Advaccine Biopharmaceuticals Suzhou Co Ltd will manufacture and sell Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate in China, the companies said on Monday.
Under a deal between the two, Advaccine will get exclusive rights to Inovio’s vaccine candidate in China, and Inovio an upfront payment of $3 million, an aggregate of $108 million upon achieving milestones, as well as be entitled to sales royalty.
Shares of Pennsylvania-based Inovio were up 6.2% in early trading following the deal announcement.
Inovio’s vaccine candidate, INO-4800, is being tested in two trials – a mid-stage study in China in partnership with Advaccine and a mid-to-late stage trial in the United States.
The company is lagging in the COVID-19 vaccine race, with shots by drugmakers Moderna Inc, Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE already approved for emergency use in the United States.
In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put Inovio’s Phase III portion of the U.S. trial on hold, as it sought more information, including details on a delivery device used to inject INO-4800 into skin cells.
Last week, China approved a shot developed by an affiliate of state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, making it the first approved COVID-19 vaccine for general public use.
Inovio’s vaccine, designed using the company’s novel DNA medicine platform, is administered through a device called Cellectra, which sends out an electrical pulse to open pores in a cell so DNA molecules can enter.